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A Kidcentric Review of JetBlue and JFK’s Terminal 5

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My husband and I traveled cross-country to the New York area this past weekend for a friend’s wedding, leaving Little V behind in the capable hands of grandma for once.  We booked our return flight on JetBlue from JFK to OAK, a route and a carrier we had not traveled in quite a while but that we like immensely because OAK is so close to our house.

Since we were childless travelers for once, we had plenty of time to check out the amenities in JetBlue’s JFK Terminal 5 before departure.  I was amazed at just how great all the choices and amenities were.  The terminal is still fairly new and is quite spacious, so there is lots of room to let your little one run around and burn off some extra energy before your flight departs.

The main atrium in JetBlue's JFK terminal.

The main atrium in JetBlue’s JFK terminal.

The terminal also has a large food court (to the right as you exit the TSA lines) that is frankly the best I’ve ever seen in a US airport.  There were many restaurants, including some of the usual fast food fare, but there was also a hot food buffet and LOADS of grab-and-go options.  The grab-and-go choices included a variety of sandwiches, salads, and pre-packaged snacks, many of which were on the healthier side.  It was such a relief to see a huge wall of kid-friendly snacks like Annie’s cheddar bunnies and applesauce pouches, rather than Twix bars.

Kid-friendly and fairly healthy choices in JetBlue's JFK Terminal 5

Kid-friendly and fairly healthy choices in JetBlue’s JFK Terminal 5

A view of some of the food court restaurants.

A view of some of the food court restaurants.

Once on board, we were reminded how the in-flight experience on JetBlue was similarly kid-friendly, at least in comparison to the other major airlines.  As I’ve written about before, JetBlue is one of only two domestic carriers that has changing tables in all of their bathrooms.  That is a big convenience when traveling with an infant.

JetBlue has changing tables in every bathroom. And, yes, I did take a photo in an airplane bathroom. The things I do for this blog.

JetBlue has changing tables in every bathroom. And, yes, I did take a photo in an airplane bathroom. The things I do for this blog.

The flight attendants on our particular flight were young and friendly, and our captain happened to be genuinely funny (not in the Southwest cheesy kind of way, but truly a master of a more sophisticated dry humor).  I wouldn’t expect that on every JetBlue flight, but it is always nice to have a particularly good flight crew when you are stressed while traveling with your little ones.

Where JetBlue really takes the cake in terms of a kid-friendly travel experience is the in-flight entertainment.  JetBlue has DirectTV available in every seat, which is great for keeping the little ones entertained on a long flight even if you don’t have an iPad or DVD player.  The channel choices included Nickelodeon, Animal Planet, and Cartoon Network, so it is likely you can find something to keep your kiddo entertained for a few hours.  There are also six in-demand movie choices for $5.99 each (options change monthly), and our flight had at least one choice that would be acceptable for most (perhaps slightly older) kids – The Rise of the Guardians.

The JetBlue in-flight entertainment was certainly revolutionary when the airline started flying in 2000.  Now I must admit that, 13 years later, the options are starting to seem a bit dated.  JetBlue’s screens are fairly small and low resolution, and the controls are on the armrest rather than part of a touchscreen.  If you are used to flying the newer planes on Virgin America (larger screens with touchscreen technology), you may think that JetBlue is in need of a little update.  That said, it still gets the job done for kids in spades!

JetBlue's In Flight Entertainment

JetBlue’s In Flight Entertainment

We were definitely very happy with the JetBlue experience and will plan to seek the airline out more in the future, particularly out of OAK.

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Friday 14th of November 2014

[…] I get the dreaded full body pat-down, but that choice is worth it to me.  In at least one case (JetBlue terminal at JFK), an accommodating TSA agent allowed me to go through the regular metal detector instead.  If this […]


Wednesday 8th of May 2013

We flew out of here in March but it wasn't finished yet and my kids had lots of space to run around! So glad to see it has more restaurants, there was like 2 when we were there!